THERES no doubt that too many people in this country take the Queen for granted.
For many if not most of us she has been a permanent fixture in the background of our daily lives since we were born, just quietly getting on with her job.
A job that she never chose and that she was born to do, and which she has done uncomplainingly for most of her life.
Even last week at 94 she conducted her Queens Speech in the House of Lords with dignity and grace, when I am pretty sure, like the rest of us, she is fed up with politicians!
We assume that the stability and strength that she offers as the backbone of this country is to be expected. But its not.
Her amazing work is all too often overlooked and, although I hate to say this, I fear that some people will only really truly appreciate her when she is gone and we realise the void that has been left behind.
Of course, none of us want to think about that now, particularly when things have been so uncertain for the last three years. Quite simply, she has been our rock and without her this country and democracy would have been much less stable. But, reluctantly, we all have to acknowledge there will be a time when she no longer reigns over us.
And then what? I dread to think about the impact it will have on this country when we are no longer ruled by the Queen. Prince Charles, who has been waiting in the wings for far longer than he would probably have liked, will, of course, take up the mantle.
ABOVE AND BEYOND
But my real hope for the future of this country lies in the form of Prince William and when it is his turn at being our King, I have no doubt that he will go above and beyond.
He has done so much to rehabilitate the reputation of the Royal Family in this country. And there are so many reasons to love him, and his wife.
Look at the way that he and Kate are conducting themselves on their historic tour of Pakistan. They are eschewing royal trappings and wearing outfits made by local tailors and taking rickshaws. They have played cricket with children, visited childrens homes, hospitals and mosques, and spread joy wherever they go. They are being generous with their time and really talking to the people they meet, including sick young children at the same cancer hospital the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre visited by the late Princess Diana the year before she died.
Their commitment to charity work is real and it is meaningful. In particular, as well as being patrons for multiple charities, Prince William and Prince Harrys decision to talk openly about their mental health and, in particular about how they struggled when they lost their mother so prematurely, have done more to break down barriers than fronting a hundred charities would.
TRANSFORMED THE CONVERSATION
They have normalised something that has been a taboo in this country for centuries and, although they received a lot of criticism for it at the time for their non royal behaviour, they transformed the conversation about mental health in this country. And we should thank them for it.
In many ways, it is their approachable normality that we love about them. Williams decision to work as an air ambulance helicopter pilot was not exactly a normal job, but it was a job nonetheless and a good one. And one that took him beyond the realm of being a member of the Royal Family. The same unfortunately cannot be said for his father or his uncles. And it will stand him in good stead.
The other thing about William and Kate is they appear to be great parents who are involved with parenting their children in a way that will surely pay dividends.
Crucially, Williams hands-on approach to being a father is unprecedented, certainly when it comes to royal fathers in years gone by.
No-one can talk about Prince William or Prince Harry without remembering the heartbreaking image of the two young boys walking behind their mothers coffin after her utterly tragic death.
Coping with the very public and very awful premature death of his mother could have broken William. Instead it has made him into the strong and compassionate and very human man he is today.
And one day he will make a great King.
Abbey’s a model mummy
ABBEY Clancy and her eight-year-old daughter, Sophia, were on Lorraine this week talking about the youngsters career as a model.
Sophia said that shes always wanted a career in fashion while her mum defended her choice to launch her into the modelling world amid claims that her daughter is too young for the industry.
Critics would say that children should be protected from the public gaze and being on a path that assesses her for the way she looks.
But at Sophias age its really only dressing up and having fun. Its when they get older that people start to say hurtful things about them that its damaging.
But also, her mother is a model and knows exactly what is involved.
If she sees no harm in Sophia following in her footsteps, then its her decision.
A Ferry bad idea
IM sure I read a few weeks ago that a study reported that 30 per cent of young people in England do not drink at all?
But looking at pictures of Geordie Shores Chloe Ferry Im not sure the stats apply to her!
After apparently drinking her own body weight in wine at a party, she fell over, suffered a wardrobe malfunction and passed out in a cab.
Weve all been there and I can say that its best to do it when youre young… as when you get older the hangovers are a killer!
Keep your kiss, Gazza
NO doubt Paul Gascoigne, the 52-year-old ex-England midfielder, will be breathing a sigh of relief this week after being cleared of sexual assault after he kissed a woman on a train without her consent.
He denied the charge, saying the kiss was not sexual, and that he kissed the stranger to boost her confidence after he heard someone call her fat.
Just what you need to boost your confidence a kiss from a drunk, shrivelled up Paul Gascoigne. NOT!
PORN LAW SELL-BY DATE
SOME people expressed disappointment this week at the news that plans to introduce the worlds first online porn law designed to stop children accessing pictures and videos had been shelved.
The new regulation would have forced people to prove they are 18 or over to access content.
But questions have been asked about how effective it would be and there were also fears that peoples private data could be hacked leaving them open to blackmail and fraud.
As a parent yes, in an ideal world children obviously would not be accessing porn online.
But as a realist, protecting children must be the responsibility of their parents, not the Government, surely?
Veg rebel without a clue
YOU cant move at the moment for people protesting about this, that and the other.
Granted, there is a lot to protest about but people really need to think about gaining sympathy rather than alienating their target audience.
Take the idiot who apparently identifies as Mr Broccoli who went on Good Morning Britain this week dressed up…as a head of the green vegetable.
He is a vegan protester apparently urging us all to give up meat to save the planet. But he refused to explain how and why switching to a plant-based diet would scientifically save the planet, even though he is a member of Animal Rebellion a vegan offshoot of Extinction Rebellion.
You would have thought hed know the answer and would relish the chance of spreading his message.
But after going on TV dressed as a vegetable he refused refuse to elaborate on why viewers should give up meat.
Instead he said: Im just a humble broccoli. I just grow.
But what was clear to me is that he didnt refuse to explain why being vegan saves the plant, he simply had no idea what the answer to the question was.
Unfortunately, Mr Broccoli, this has the effect of making people think that you are in it for attention (especially when you stopped the interview to take a call from your banana!), rather than raising any awareness for your cause.
And watching this interview it was all too easy to conclude that too many people feel the urge to demonstrate but dont really know what they are demonstrating for.
What a waste of space.
TALKING of protesters … I bet they wished they hadnt picked on Canning Town.
Because when one of them climbed on top of a train to protest about climate change and cause disruption, the hundreds of angry commuters waiting at that station didnt stand by and accept it, and neither did they wait for the police to come and tell him off like a naughty schoolboy, they took matters into their own hands and dragged him off by force.
What did this ex monk turned full-time protester (it sounds like a job, but clearly isnt) expect?
He is in Londons rush-hour, surrounded by commuters who are on their way to a full days work and want to get there?
And why, by the way, did they choose to protest on top of an electric train, when they of all the modes of transport are the best for the environment the protesters are seeking to protect.